There have been no drastic changes in the Dayton Dragons clubhouse since June 1, the last time the team lost a game — except for a rush of confidence.
“We’re playing loose and we’re trusting our ability, trusting the way we’ve always played this game,” said Dragons center fielder Michael Siani. “We’re just being more efficient with what we’re doing. … Everybody knows about (the streak), but we’re just doing our thing and trusting in what we’re doing, sticking to what’s working.”
That showed in the first of a three-game series against the West Michigan Whitecaps. Siani went 4-for-4 with an RBI as the Dragons rallied for the third straight night, beating the Whitecaps 5-4 in front of 8,420 fans on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field.
The Dragons won their ninth straight game — the first time that’s happened since April of 2018. The team’s longest winning streak came in 2002 when it won 13 straight games.
“We’re just rolling with it, having fun, staying as loose as we can,” Siani said. “We’re just playing our game and doing our thing.”
Siani was the Midwest League’s hottest player in June, leading the league in batting average (.447), hits (17) and stolen bases (10).
“I’m just trying to be disciplined, see the ball, stick to my approach and just battle, especially with two strikes,” Siani said.
Juan Martinez had three hits and Jay Schuyler had two hits and two RBIs as the Dragons improved to 26-39. West Michigan fell to 20-45.
Dragons reliever Eduardo Salazar earned the victory, allowing one earned run on three hits in three innings of relief. Matt Pidich earned the hold, allowing one hit in two innings of work. Eddy Demurias allowed one run in the ninth inning, but struck out West Michigan’s Reynaldo Rivera to end the game.
“The bullpen came up big for us today,” said Dragons manager Luis Bolivar. “We had a couple errors here and there, but they got it done.”
The Whitecaps took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning when Vinny Esposito was hit by a pitch from Dragons starter Jhon De Jesus with the bases loaded. With two outs and runners on first and third, West Michigan made it 2-0 in the third inning when Parker Meadows hit a shot to shortstop Miguel Hernandez
The Whitecaps wouldn’t hold the lead for long. With one out, Dragons second baseman Randy Ventura walked and advanced to third base on a single by Siani. With two outs, Schuyler doubled to left field, scoring both runners and tying the score at 2-2.
The Dragons took the lead for good in the fourth inning. Martinez and Bren Spillane each singled to start the inning and Brian Rey grounded out to the pitcher to score Martinez from third to make it 3-2. Spillane then moved to third on a wild pitch by Adam Wolf and scored on a sacrifice fly by Hernandez to make it 4-2. The next batter Randy Ventura singled and moved to second on an overthrow by Wolf. With two outs, Siani singled to center field, scoring Ventura to give the Dragons a 5-2 lead.
With two outs in the sixth inning, West Michigan’s Jose King singled to center field and moved to third base on a throwing error by Ventura. The Whitecaps’ Vinny Esposito doubled to left field, scoring King to cut the deficit to 5-3.
The Whitecaps added a run in the ninth inning before Demurias came up with a big strikeout to end the game.
Injury update: Jared Solomon was placed on the injured list on Tuesday after leaving Monday’s game in the third inning with shoulder discomfort. He was replaced on the roster by pitcher Connor Curlis (2-1, 2.45 ERA), who returned from extended spring training.
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